Keep on dreaming, even if it breaks your heart.

The human body can be broken, but the human spirit is uncrushable.
If you decide you won’t let it be crushed.

I finally broke down and asked Jilissa about the pain in my knee.
It was tolerable, but has recently started getting worse.
I noticed a while back that when I bend my right knee, it felt like it was crunching under the knee cap. I had asked Jilissa about it, and she made a grimace face. Not good. She told me to watch it and try and be careful with it.
That was almost a year ago. For the most part it’s been okay, but I noticed last week that it was pretty consistently shooting pain in the same spot.
So I asked her.
Once again, grimace.
She said that under the knee cap, it’s not good. It could possibly need to be scraped. Dr’s usually say not to do the surgery unless it’s affecting your day-to-day like. “But, you’re a dancer, so.” She said that technology and modern medicine has come a long way, so I could possibly only be out for 3 weeks. But she’s not a Dr, so all of this could be way off.
I decided I’m gonna get it checked out anyway. Just to see.
I really don’t want to. I’m afraid I’ll be told not to dance. Or not to get on pointe. Which it my dream I’m working towards. Or that I wouldn’t get to do recital in June, which I have been looking forward to all year.
But, I can’t let this overwhelm me.
If I give up, then I really will never reach my dreams.
Sure, it’s a pretty tough pill to swallow to think that I may lose the one and only thing I really have left to hold on to. But I have to keep pushing forward.
Stopping ensures defeat.

Remember to breathe.

I have a horrible habit.
When I focus really hard, I forget to breathe.
Whether it be while crocheting, reading, watching the turning point in a movie, something super specific…
Anything that demands my full attention.
Sometimes I’ll be on a long black train of thoughts and realize I’m not breathing.

It’s worst when I dance.
Trying to remember everything; turn out from the hip, use your core, pull up in your legs, chest lifted. Let alone trying to do a circular port de bras and rond de jambe at the same time. In releve.
If you forget to breathe, forget it. You’ll end a 30 second combination super light headed and beat down.

I was having a rough night this week, and a dear friend said simply, “Remember to breathe.”
When I get really upset, I’ll hold my breathe. I don’t even realize it.
But it’s like in dance when I’m really focused. I have to remember or else it’s going to make the next combination even more difficult.

I’m never going to be put through anything I can’t handle.
If I can remember to breathe, remember to think clearly, remember to dismiss the lies telling me of all the ways I fall short, then I will be able to endure. Then the next thing that comes at me will be endurable. I’ll know I can do it because I have before.

Remember to breathe.
Everything is better in the morning.

When life is hard.

Recently in class, Jilissa has been working us pretty hard.
We’ve all gotten to the point where we’re pretty level  in skill, so she’s been throwing new stuff at us and really pushing us.
Before, I probably would freak out at the fact that it’s new and I can’t do it, but recently that hasn’t been the case. I would panic if I didn’t get it the first or second time. Then I would shut down and not be very productive for the rest of the class.
But now, I’ve realized that is all in my head.
The Lord sat me down last year and told me, “The Holy Spirit is the author of all creativity. And if He lives inside of you, what makes you think you can’t do the things I’ve placed inside of you to desire to do?”
And that put me straight on my face. Okay, makes sense, I’ll have confidence.

That was last year. Fast forward to today.
Jilissa throws these new and difficult things at us, and instead of panicking when things get difficult, I’m able to have a confident approach. I know that if I can’t get it the first time, that’s okay. I can just put it on the back burner and figure it out on my time. The point is that I try.
And when I try, I amaze myself at how much I can actually do.

Instead of looking at it and seeing all the negatives, seeing all the ways I can mess it up, all the ways that I don’t do it well, I look at it and see the possibilities.
I know I’m not awesome yet, but I know I’m on my way. And if I never try new things, I’ll never get there. If I never fall flat on my face, I’ll never learn.

So when life seems the same, when things look really difficult, or impossible, or hopeless. Don’t look at it and see all the difficulties that you’ll face, look at it and see all the positives it holds. All the potential.
Don’t get upset that you’re not where you want to be yet, find ways to be grateful for where you are right now.

You’ll get there, eventually, on your own time.
Until then, enjoy the journey.

let it go and move on.

Jilissa pointed out that sometimes we seem to get caught up on one move we can’t master.
It’ll ruin the rest of our day.
she suggested just putting it out of your head. Take that move, that sequence, whatever it is you can’t seem to get. Accept it, put it to the side and keep going. you can come back to it later when you’re ready to try it again.
And that’s okay.

We aren’t gonna get everything exactly right the first time.
We’re gonna make mistakes, we’re gonna trip up.
There will even be things we have seemingly mastered that will just seem impossible on some days.
That’s okay.
Accept it.
Let it go.
Move on.

Don’t let it ruin your entire day.
Don’t let it drain you of the other things that have the potential to be beautiful.
Leave it to be contained in that one thing.
Don’t take it with you to everything.

Whatever it is that is haunting your thoughts
whatever seeming failures or mistakes or confusion
Just accept it, let it go, and move on.

Find your center.

Use your center.

If I had a dollar for every time my dance teacher said this, I’d be a millionaire.
Your center-your core- is one of the most important things to engage in dance. If you don’t have your center,  if you can’t find it, if you don’t use it, you’re not going to look very graceful. If you can even make it through the combination.
I’ve been having a hard time recently. An identity crisis, of sorts. 
I didn’t feel like I know who I really was. I knew me, but I felt like the core of me had disappeared. 
One of my closest friends, Kristin, and I went to go see our traditional movie around Christmas. This year we went to see Rise of the Guardians.  
Oh. My. Gosh.
So good. 
It was actually her second time seeing it, and I can see why.
It has such a wonderful message behind it, and it played right to my heart.
What’s your point? What are you here for? What makes you tick? 
If you can find that, then you’re set.
I went to my parents church last Wednesday.
Wouldn’t you know it, they went on a “Jesus is at the center of it all” tangent. 
And it made perfect sense. 
He should be my center. He should be what defines me, what keeps me going.
I realized why it is that so many people feel they have a say in my life and decisions.
Because I let them.
I’ve been so concerned with not offending anyone that I had lost who I am.
I would tweak things about myself to better mesh with them and their personalities and lifestyles.
Nothing too drastic or life altering, per se. I didn’t do drugs or sleep around or anything like that, but it affected me nonetheless.
I need to find my center. What makes me tick. What makes me who I am.
No one can define it for me, and if I rely on that I am setting myself up for failure.
I can hold people and things close, but I have to remember that it is indeed all temporary. 
And if I was to lose everything I know and love, I can’t let it break me down.
Sure, it would hurt and it would be an adjustment. But I can’t let it break me.
This dance we call life. It’ll look a whole lot better if we find our center and engage it. 
Life makes so much more sense and is more enjoyable now.

Dance first, think later.

I’ve been having hard time in my life lately.
Things I thought I had learned long ago seem to haunt me.
Too many days I’ve found myself with my head in my hands
Cheeks black with tears.
If I let myself think, even (especially) about those I love, the pain is too much to handle.
Sometimes I feel as if I can’t breathe.

When everything seems hopeless, I have one ray of light.
Dance.
And it may sound childish, or cheesy, or whatever, but it’s true.
When I dance, nothing matters. My brain shuts down.
There’s no room for thinking, all your energy is channeled into focusing.
The people in my class make me feel like I matter.

I may not be the greatest dancer, even for how long I’ve been in class.
But that doesn’t matter to me anymore.
I don’t dance to be good. I want to improve, yes, but what matters most is what dance does for me.
It’s my chance to be selfish.
To take my hour and a half that I’m there and shut out the world.
Nothing matters.
It’ll be waiting for me when I get back.

And it is.
Whatever.
I can’t make it go away.
But the two+ hours a week that I can avoid it, pure bliss.

Be Yourself.

One thing I really love about the people in my dance class
They don’t even know me, and they love and accept me.

I haven’t told them any of my history, most have them have never even seen me with my hair down.
Yet, they love me.
I act a fool, mostly cause I’m exhausted and have no filter by the time we have class
Yet they love me.

It’s the favorite few hours of my week.

Keep going.

I can’t escape the fact that everything is going to be okay…
It’s just a matter of getting there.
That sometimes you have to let things get rough so that God can fully do what He wants to do. Like in Esther. If Haman hadn’t made the King make the decree to destroy the Jews, then the Jews wouldn’t have been able to overcome their enemies. They would have just been living in a tense state forever. But the Lord knew. And Esther and Mordecai were obedient. So it worked out beautifully.
I have to hold to this.
I have no other choice.
I gotta face my fears.
I have to keep waking up in the morning. 
Keep letting my feet hit the floor.
Keep facing the things I can’t stand.
Hold to the good.
Hold to the hope, even when it seems bleak.
I have to accept that things don’t make sense, and that’s okay.
That I don’t have to have the answers.
No matter how much I want to. How much I want all of this to be over, to be happy all the time, to not feel like I’m fighting.
This is difficult. 
But I must endure.
I can’t not…
I can’t afford not to…
So I’ll cry.
I’ll scream.
I’ll curl up into a pitiful ball.
I’ll eat ice cream when I want.
I’ll write.
I’ll ask questions that don’t have answers.
I’ll laugh and try my best to enjoy the good things I do have around me. 
I’ll dance. Every chance I get. 
I’ll pray. 
Every breath laced with communication to God.
I’ll remember to breathe
But hold my breath when I need to.
When I feel I need to reset.
I’ll do all I can to make it through.
I’ll keep going.
Breakthrough has to come eventually.

Therapy.

I’ve come to realize how much I look forward to dance class.
I’ll have a horrible day, be crying the whole drive there, and I get there and it all melts away.
That hour, nothing else matters.
Nothing from the past is looming
Nothing from the future scares me
All that matters is the step you’re doing and the one coming up next.

It’s almost like time stops.

We’re off all next week for the holiday.
This makes me nervous, because I have come to depend so much on it.
But, that’s okay.

I have something to look forward to.
Something to keep me going.
I may not be the best, but I feel so alive.
I can’t not dance.

Go One More.

 I missed dance class on Monday, and frankly, with the week I’ve had, I thought about skipping today.
I was afraid going into it that the mental drain and toll the last couple of days has had on me would hinder my dancing more than help.
Sometimes, pushing through and going anyway helps break through some of the mental strain. Other times, it takes a toll on my confidence and my dancing lacks greatly.
I don’t like those days.
I haven’t had one in a while, but I was certain today would break that record.

I considered it.
All of it.
What am I doing in dance anyway?
What is it going to do for me?
Where am I going to go with it?
What’s the point of pursuing these dreams of mine? I’d have tons more time if I didn’t fight for this.
Why fight?
My health makes it difficult, too.
Why fight…
It’s hard. People don’t think it’s a necessity. They think it’s a waste of time.
A fleeting dream.
Grow up, Emilee.

I went anyway.
Started feeling a little light headed part way through it.
But I shut off my brain and kept going.

The last third of the class, Jilissa starts talking really serious to us.
That she wanted us to consider the Holiday Showcase.
If we didn’t want to do it, that’s okay, but she expected each of us to do it.
She said she used the word “expected” because it has the connotation of if we didn’t she’d be disappointed.
And she said this in a lighthearted way, not being mean or anything.

Last year, I wasn’t in the Holiday Showcase. I wasn’t asked, I didn’t even really hear about it.
Granted, I was only a few weeks into classes around this time, and got into a car accident last November that put me out for a couple weeks.
But this year, I got invited to be a part.

It’s gonna take practicing, for sure. But we’ll work on the dance in class.
With this kind of thing, if I know the steps and can work on them at home, I’ll do well.
Well… well enough to get on that stage.
It puts the pressure on.
But, this is what I love…

I left that dance class with a spring in my step.
Dancing is part of me…
Sure, I’m not that great yet, but that’s what time and dedication is for.
I’ll get there.
It takes me to a different place, it helps me escape everything, if only for an hour.
And when I leave, all the burdens that seemed to be the size of boulders walking in feel like nothing more than the size of a bean.

I got this.
Everything’s gonna be okay.